What to say, and not to say, after a car wreck

Alex Glenn at NerdWallet, a personal finance site, says you should never say these things after being involved in a car crash:

“I’m fine.” Soft tissue injuries take time to show up. Let your doctor decide if you’re fine.

“Whiplash.” Even if you have it, the word throws up scamming red flags with your insurer.

“Sorry.” Writing in USA Today, Glenn recommends keeping quiet instead. Saying the word could imply you think the crash was your fault.

“Sure, record me.” You can refuse to have a statement recorded at the scene. Know exactly what you want to say before agreeing to it.

Answer questions honestly but stick to the facts. In all circumstances, tell the truth. But don’t offer uncalled-for details. After a wreck they’re hard to remember, and you don’t know all the details yourself.

“Many customers can’t recall specifics,” says Jason Lundberg, a San Francisco attorney specializing in vehicle accidents. “Trying to give precise details can lead to a false recount. Instead of specifics, providing estimates is a good way to cooperate.”

Never assume the blame at the accident scene. Fault is rarely cut and dried, and your interpretation is just that, an interpretation.

“Most accidents are caused by both parties,” Lundberg says. “Sometimes 50-50, sometimes 90-10. Investigations may reveal there is something the other driver could have done to avoid the accident.”

Getting compensated for damages, injuries. Any injury claims that aren’t documented by your doctor won’t be considered.

Getting your vehicle repaired is more straightforward. Get three estimates, but beware of the one that is significantly lower than the other two because the estimator probably missed something.